You may know Justin Baldoni as the dreamy Rafael Solano in "Jane the Virgin," but the actor, director, producer and author is so much more. Baldoni chatted with Sydney Sadick for TMRW x TODAY's Q&A series for his partnership with Philips Espresso about everything from keeping in touch with his co-stars, his new feature film, "Clouds," and why he wants to teach his son a different type of masculinity.
1. His wife auditioned for the part of Petra — and that's how he came to star in "Jane the Virgin."
Baldoni first heard of "Jane The Virgin" when his wife, Emily, said she was auditioning for the part of Petra and needed his help going over lines. After reading the description for the character Rafael, he admitted that he began to feel insecure and a bit jealous. "I thought, 'Who is this guy going to be? He sounds really dreamy!'"
At the time Baldoni considered himself a documentary filmmaker, not an actor. About two months later, Baldoni's directing manager asked if he wanted to audition for the part of Rafael. The following day, he had a chemistry read with Gina Rodriguez and the rest is history. "It's like it was meant to be," he told TMRW.
2. He'd be happy to join a "Jane the Virgin" reunion.
Baldoni describes being on "Jane the Virgin" as one of the greatest blessings of his life. He shared that he still keeps in touch with all of his co-stars and would take part in a "Jane the Virgin" reunion if asked to do so in the future. Fingers crossed!
3. He's a filmmaker with an emotional new movie out now.
While most know him predominately as an actor, Baldoni considers himself first and foremost a documentary filmmaker. "My dream is to tell stories that make a difference in people's lives," Baldoni said. He directed and produced the feature film "Clouds," which was recently released on Disney+ and is based on a true story.
"Clouds" tells the story of 17-year-old musician Zach Sobiech whose world gets turned upside down when he finds out his cancer has spread. The film sparked a viral social media trend where people record their emotional reactions on TikTok after watching the film. Disney+ is also streaming "Beyond The Clouds," a docuseries about the making of the movie, including scenes with Zach Sobiech's family.
4. He's passionate about "undefining" masculinity.
Baldoni's new book, "Man Enough," details his experience confronting traditional masculinity. He wrote the book based on what it was like to become aware of his privilege and what he wants other men to know.
"I want men to ask themselves, 'Why?' Everyday there are so many little things that happen that are unconscious because we've been taught to be a certain way," Baldoni told TMRW.
"Man Enough" is one of three books Baldoni will be releasing on this subject matter. The second book will be for a younger "middle-ground" audience and his third book will be a children's book.
5. He believes failure serves a purpose.
Baldoni wants young people to know that it's important to put in the work and time. He added that while it is great to have an entrepreneurial spirit, one should never expect to succeed immediately, and that "there is a tremendous blessing in failing."
"What you don't always see are the years and years and years of work," he explained. "Be patient, have your ambitions and have a larger 'why' (other) than for yourself."